The original Phaeton turned out to be a money hole for the Volkswagen Group as analysts estimated the company lost around €28,000 for every car sold. Even so, the German automotive conglomerate originally intended to give the majestic sedan a direct successor. However, Dieselgate happened, and many projects were canceled as VAG decided to channel most of its financial efforts to the MEB platform dedicated to electric vehicles.
To celebrate 20 years of Phaetonth anniversary, VW released images last week of a fully functional prototype. It has remained tight-lipped about technical specifications, only mentioning the car should sit on MLB platforms like the Touareg large SUV and China-only Phideon flagship sedan. Fortunately, German magazine Auto Motorcycle and Sports has now managed to get more details about the model codenamed D2.
We can tell that the second generation Phaeton was engineered exclusively in the form of a long wheelbase whereas its predecessor was sold in SWB and LWB flavours. The full-size luxury sedan stretches over 5.3 meters (208.6 inches), which would make it as long as the new BMW 7 Series LWB. VW intends to sell the car in the United States as well as in China and South Korea where ample rear legroom is important for people buying chauffeur-driven cars.
Several engines have been planned for the new Phaeton, including a V6 petrol and diesel unit with 340 and 286 horsepower, respectively. There are also plans for a plug-in hybrid powertrain based around a V6 petrol engine for a combined output of 455 hp. Temporarily available in Touareg, the colossal 900 Newton-meter (664 pound-feet) V8 TDI is destined for the Euro-spec model.
Of course, the top-sec Phaeton is once again engineered with the majestic W12. At its highest state, the 6.0-liter twin-turbo produces 650 hp and 900 Nm (664 lb-ft) in the Bentley Continental GT Speed. Interestingly, AMS went on to say PHEV was envisioned with inductive charging to charge the battery without using pesky wires.
While the Phaeton D2 was cancelled, VW still sold the Phideon in China. However, the facelift introduced in late 2020 brings a streamlined lineup by eliminating the V6 engine, PHEV setup, and all-wheel drive. The Luxobarge is currently sold exclusively in front-wheel drive guise with a four-cylinder engine, which wouldn’t fly for a global flagship luxury car.